Most computers come with antivirus protection already installed, so you might have never considered paying for an additional service that shields you from computer viruses.
Hackers are always trying to find ways to get around the standard defenses in your computer. That’s why online data security companies still offer subscription services that protect you from the latest attacks. Are these services a good deal, or do you have enough coverage using your built-in virus blocker?
If you’re using a Windows computer, the odds are good that you’ve got Windows Defender installed. It comes free with Windows 10, and it does a pretty good job of keeping your computer safe. The service blocks all but the most robust of viruses from being able to simply brute-force their way into your computer.
For general-purpose use, Windows users are safe with just Windows Defender. However, if you have a lot of sensitive information on a home or work computer–such as payroll data or medical records–then you’ll want another layer of protection. That’s also true if you (or someone in your household) has a bad habit of visiting risky sites or clicking on sketchy links from email or social media. Paying online data security companies to protect your data and defend your machine is cheaper than buying a new computer–or losing precious documents and photos.
You’ve probably heard some variation of the adage that “Macs don’t get viruses.” This is essentially true, in that most Mac users could go their entire lives without seeing their computer targeted by a virus. This isn’t because of anything to do with Macs themselves; instead, it has to do with the market share of Mac OS.
Mac computers are less common than Windows machines. As such, hackers don’t usually write viruses for Macs. Windows offers a broader number of potential targets and therefore more chances that the user has their firewalls down or hasn’t kept up with the latest security updates. Mac is safe from viruses in practice, but that doesn’t mean you literally can’t get one. Always back up your files, and if you prefer the peace of mind that knowing a paid anti-virus service has your back, then it might be worth the investment.
It is possible for smartphones to have viruses. Apple phones, which run the iOS system, are unlikely to get a virus, however, due to the limited nature of the App Store. Just like with a Mac desktop, your iPhone is probably pretty safe.
Android phones have some apps that can share data with one another, making viruses function in a slightly different way on the Android OS. Typically, viruses targeting mobile devices will attempt to make purchases through your shopping apps or otherwise steal your payment information to scam you out of money.
If you’re worried about viruses on your phone, there are some antivirus services you could install on your Android phone. If you think your phone has a virus, you can restore it to factory settings, which will completely clear all of the data on the phone and should delete any viruses you may have picked up.